As long as humanity has had beliefs in a higher power, the use of magic, spells, curses, and incantations have featured widely across cultures. A number of influential texts or ‘grimoires’ (textbooks of magic) were developed over the centuries, many of which became the books of choice for secret societies and occult organizations that endured well into the twentieth century.
Witchcraft of some sort has probably existed since humans first banded together in groups. Simple sorcery (or the use of magic accessible to ordinary people), such as setting out offerings to helpful spirits or using charms, can be found in almost all traditional societies. Prehistoric art depicts magical rites to ensure successful hunting, and also seems to depict religious rituals involving people dancing in animal costumes. Shamanism, the practice of contacting spirits through dream work and meditative trances, is probably the oldest religion, and early shamans collected much knowledge about magic and magical tools.
Witches of ancient Sumeria and Babylonia invented an elaborate Demonology. They had a belief that the world was full of spirits and that most of these spirits were hostile. Each person was supposed to have their own spirit which would protect them from demonsand enemies, which could can only be fought by the use of magic (including amulets, incantations and exorcisms).
Western beliefs about witchcraft grew largely out of the mythologies and folklore of ancient peoples, especially the Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans. Witches in ancient Egypt purportedly used their wisdom and knowledge of amulets, spells, formulas and figures to bend the cosmic powers to their purpose or that of their clients.
The Greeks had their own form of magic, which was close to a religion, known as The urgy (the practice of rituals, often seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action of the gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine and perfecting oneself). Another lower form of magic was “magic”, which was closer to sorcery, and was practiced by individuals who claimed to have knowledge and powers to help their clients, or to harm their clients’ enemies, by performing rites or supplying certain formulas.
If you thought that spells were just a creation of modern times, think again. A real spellbook containing spells including love spells as well as spells to rid yourself of demons has been found!
The ancient parchment book, looking like something from a fairy tale, has been made public, and is attracting a lot of attention for the subject matter it covers- magic, power, and spells!